Washington: Two studies have suggested that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia who practice yoga showed statistically significant improvements in disease activity.
The results of one study conducted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) among 47 patients (26 yoga patients and 21 controls) demonstrated that patients who completed 12 sessions of Raj yoga which is one of the gentler styles of yoga, combining exercise and breathing techniques showed significant improvements in disease activity scores (DAS28) of p=0.021 and health assessment questionnaire``s. However there was no statistically significant improvement on the quality of life scale (QoL).
"Most patients with RA do not exercise regularly despite the fact that those who do report less pain and are therefore more physically active," said Dr Humeira Badsha MD Rheumatologist and founder of the Emirates Arthritis Foundation, Dubai, UAE.
"While our study has been conducted in a small group of patients the results show clear benefits for patients who regularly practice Raj yoga. We believe that practicing yoga longer term could in fact result in further significant improvements and hope our study drives further research into the benefits of yoga in RA," added Badsha.
Results of another study investigating the effects of yoga on the QoL of patients with fibromyalgia, demonstrated that QoL scores, after an eight session classical yoga program which combines gentle yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation, were better than scores obtained before the program along with a significant decrease in the anxiety levels of patients. As anxiety is often a key symptom in patients with this condition, this study represents a positive step in improving the lives of people suffering from fibrolmyalgia.
The studies were presented at the EULAR 2011 Annual Congress.